Livserindringer / Memories of My Life: A Woman’s Life in Nineteenth-Century Denmark

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The first full English translation, annotated by excerpts from other writings, and illustrated, of Memories of My Life. This memoir illuminates Danish provincial life, childhood and education, and also relevant to the study of nineteenth-century women’s history and literature.


"Cecilie’s recollections enable us to gain a richer understanding of the period and its people. It is a story of one time and place that will have resonances in many other times and places, not only in other parts of Scandinavia, but in Europe as a whole. This edition opens up Cecilie’s world to a much wider audience, and provides a wealth of additional documentary and illustrative material never published before.” – Prof. Niels Oxenvad, University of Southern Denmark

“Hertz stands modestly in the tradition of her countryman, Kierkegaard. And, like him, she wrestled with religion; a sensitive soul repelled by the religious orthodoxy of her day yet propelled by an ineluctable quest for truth. She was not one for accepting as true that which was simply proclaimed as such; she would think things through for herself, and make up her own mind. This led her into an intense experiential and existentially focussed understanding of faith which resulted in her adopting Unitarian views, something quite radical for a 19th century Danish woman.
Joan Taylor, a renowned scholar, has been ably assisted in this project by her translator mother, Birgit Taylor. Academic acumen has been employed in the cause of recovery, compilation and interpretation of personal narrative so as to render it of intrinsic public interest. I congratulate them on their achievement and commend the reader to share a journey of discovery.” - Prof. Douglas Pratt, University of Waikato

“It is indeed rare to be given a first-hand account of a seemingly “ordinary” middle-class woman, who so elegantly has recorded how she was affected by the changing and competing philosophical and religious thoughts of her time; this work shows to what degree everyday life and “ordinary “ people were indeed affected by the currents of philosophical, political and aesthetic thought, and it offers us an insight into the channels through which such influences were disseminated: play, education, book clubs, lending libraries, sermons, social reading and both public and private theatrical performances. One will find many references to such authors as Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard, St. St. Blicher, Dickens, Poul Møller, Kingo and Ingemann – authors who clearly played a major role in forming Cecilie Hertz’s religious outlook, her aesthetic sensibility and her celebration of fantasy and the imagination.” - Prof. Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, University College London

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword, by Niels Oxenvad
Memories of My Life (written 1867, 1873, 1910)
1. Bogense: The Old Home
i. The Old House
ii. In the Country
iii. Town Life
iv. School Life
v. Play
vi. Holidays and Summer Guests
vii. Holiday Guests
2. Bogense: The New Home
i. The New House
ii. Confirmation
iii. Grown Up
iv. Gyldensteen
v. Hertz
vi. Louise
3. Life in Rendsborg
4. Two Years of Wandering
5. The Parsonage in Hasle
6. My Widowhood
Appendix: Other Writings by Cecilie Hertz
i. On Being a ‘Lady’, c. 1860
ii. Cecilie’s Speech on her 90th birthday, 1919
iii. A newspaper article on fashion, 1928

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